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Thread: observation to inpt

  1. #1

    Default observation to inpt

    AAPC: Back to School
    Can someone explain to me the documentation requirements if a patient is
    admitted to observation, then status changes to inpt the next day, by the
    SAME doctor. Does the doctor have to dictate a new H&P? An H&P has
    already been done. Is it appropriate for the dr to reference the observation H&P and
    then dictate the next day's findings? I trying to find the easiest way for them to document.
    Last edited by lfuller; 07-03-2008 at 01:37 PM. Reason: more to the point of my question

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Louisville, KY


    My recommendation is to have the provider reference "full H&P", but to also create a record for the patient encounter wherein full admission was decided. In other words, we really want to see the MDM for why the patient necessitated IP status--this'll help on a number of fronts.

    The patient encounters are really separate and distinct from one another; the notes should be too.
    Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I

  3. #3


    So, if on day 2 they say " Mrs B was admitted to observation yesterday, please see my H&P. Because of worsening XXXXX I decided to admit her
    to inpt status today." and then dr proceeds on. Is that sufficient to cover
    the inpt admit?
    Thanks, I really appreciate the input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Louisville, KY


    I would advise to perform more than a "bare minimum" if you plan on coding and billing both the Obs admit and the Full Admit.
    Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default Inpatient only

    We do not bill out physician's services for patients in the hospital until the patient has been either 1) discharged; -or- 2) the 7th day of inpatient admission - whichever comes first. This way we're certain of the patient's status (obsv vs inpt), and in most cases we can bill out the entire hospitalization in one session of abstracting the progress notes/ H&P / discharge papers, etc.

    In the scenario you describe, where a patient is first admitted to observation and the next day admitted as an inpatient, the hospital does not discharge the patient and re-admit, but changes the patient status for the entire visit to inpatient. We would therefore bill an Initial Hospital Visit for the first date of admission (even though originally it was for observation), any subsequent hospital visits as documented, and discharge day management as documented.

    Our coders have full access to the hospital charts, so we abstract physician charges.

    Hope this helps.
    F Tessa Bartels, CPC-E/M

  6. #6


    Well, the situation is a little different, the hsp is leaving pt as obs status on
    the first and changing the status to inpt on the second day. So I can't use
    inpt codes the first day,ins denies because of place of service. It's ok when
    the hsp changes the status for the entire stay, but that's not happening here. It's been something of a problem since the hsp became a critical access hospital. Does anyone out there have some experience with physician billing for services that take place in a critical access hosptial?
    The way things fall now, I have to bill two intial encounters if the same dr
    does the work, and I'm trying to figure out how to advise them to document
    without having to do all the work of 2 separate PEs if they can reference what they've already done. But I need some clarity here on what's acceptable.
    Thank you,everyone.

    By the way, I also bill as Tessa Bartels, after the pt has been discharged, so I can bill the whole hsp
    stay at once. The pt status is really as I described above.
    Last edited by lfuller; 07-09-2008 at 08:06 AM. Reason: more info

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Danville, PA

    Question Observation to Inpatient

    If the hospital did not change the patient from observation to inpatient status on day 1, what location would we give in locator 32 for the observation status, inpatient or outpatient?

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